Saturday, June 16, 2012
Two very important men in my life celebrate Father's Day tomorrow: my own father, Ron, and my husband, Jeffrey. Therefore, I find it most appropriate to write a post about them. Let's start with Ron since I've known him longer. (Jeffrey's post will come tomorrow.) Without the U.S. Army to uproot Daddy from his homeland of Milwaukee, WI, I would not exist. Without his impeccable skills with shop tools that brought him to the Vicksburg Theater Guild to work on a set for a play where he would meet my mom, I would not exist. Even though he no longer serves in the Army and chances of him sitting through a musical with me are slim to fat chance in hell, and even though he and my mother have since split (though they remain very good friends and he will always carry a torch for her), these twists of fate brought him to fatherhood. I cannot put into words how much I love my dad. We've had some great times, from singing Huey Lewis and the News songs ("Stuck on You"--our personal favorite) each morning on the way to my pre-school to shouting "Hey Batta Batta SWING" loud as we could at each and every Milwaukee Brewers game we ever attended together to holding literary discussions over the phone for sometimes hours. Of course, no parent-child relationship comes without bumps in the road. Daddy did, after all, have to stand the test of my teenage years (my sister's too, although she went quite easy on him. She always has had a knack for kindness that somehow got lost on me). Needless to say, he passed with flying colors. Daddy was the one who taught me it was o.k. to cry. In some of our darkest times, sometimes that was all we could do. In September of 2009, I joyfully learned I was pregnant with mine and Jeffrey's first child. Three days later, I woke up bleeding, Jeffrey rushed me to the hospital, and there we learned that I had miscarried. Devastated doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of what either Jeffrey or I felt. Hell, I still feel it from time to time. However, as we were leaving the hospital heading home, there was my dad coming into the lobby and in front of God, the geriatrics in wheelchairs, and everybody else, he held me tight, we both cried, and I felt that maybe Jeffrey and I weren't the last two people on earth after all. On any given day, I would've rather the earth swallowed me whole than to be seen squalling in the arms of my father in the lobby of the busiest hospital in Mississippi, but at that moment, I did not care. It's a moment I hope never to repeat but at the same time I can look back and see it for its beauty. Perhaps Daddy sometimes took the weepiness to an extreme, though. One of Jeffrey's favorite "Ron" moments occurred while we were dating. I had taken Jeffrey to Vicksburg for the first time. We were not engaged yet, but at that point, I knew he was "The One" so I wanted him to spend time with my family just so he could make sure that he could handle all of this crazy. The year before, Daddy had bought me a Toyota Camry, and that thing was loaded. (Sidenote: The Camry was the second to last car Daddy bought for me. After wrecking a wreck with it--yeah, you read that right-- my next car was merely a basic model Honda (read: one step up from a Fred Flintstone mobile.)) Anyway, I decided while in Vicksburg, I would wash the car inside and out. I Armor-alled, Turtle waxed, and everything else to make that car look fine, and did it ever! When all was done, Daddy came out, looked it over, took out his handkerchief, dabbed his eyes and said,"Give Daddy a hug." At that moment, Jeffrey ran off somewhere,laughed his ass off, yet still proposed to me a month later. The best gift my father ever gave me was to love me with his whole heart. I have always known, even when I had behaved very badly, he loves me no matter what. It's a gift I hope to pass down to my children, and one they will pass on to theirs. After all, that kind of love enabled me to confidently marry the love of my life at a fairly young age, decide on a career path, make sound financial decisions, and ultimately be happy with myself.